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Four Things That Happened This Year That Will Make You Hopeful about Climate

by Portal Web Editor last modified Dec 18, 2019 01:12 AM
Contributors: Forest Trends
You may have read that that climate talks closed on Sunday without final agreement on a key piece of implementing the Paris Agreement, which goes into full effect in 2021. But international negotiations are not the whole story, and what we saw in our work on the ground this year has been incredibly energizing.

Here are four reasons to be optimistic as we head into 2020. They're also the reasons why we are working harder than ever to mobilize finance for conservation and ecological restoration around the world.

Wishing you happy holidays!

- The Forest Trends team


1. We don’t need to wait for high-level international agreements to make progress on climate.

The climate talks closed on Sunday without a final agreement on Article 6, which governs international carbon trading. But dozens of countries are set to move forward anyway, through regional “carbon clubs."
Companies aren’t waiting for regulations to go carbon-neutral. In 2019, they voluntarily offset their carbon impacts at near-record levels.
Outside of carbon finance, investments in nature-based solutions also boomed in 2019, as countries looked to healthy natural landscapes to ensure water security and climate resilience.

2.  When it comes to deforestation, bad actors are running out of room to operate.

In 2019, we saw a perfect storm of growing consumer awareness, investor pressure, forthcoming regulation, and technological advances, that changed “business as usual” forever for companies with forest risk in their palm, soy, cattle, and timber/pulp supply chains.

This year, we worked with Ceres to release a pair of briefs guiding investors on how to effectively engage companies on deforestation. And we published a white paper proposing a radical – but surprisingly simple – way for mainstream investors to ensure their investments support climate action.
We’re also providing guidance and resources to policy-makers to help them pass effective regulations to keep forest risk commodities out of their markets.
New scientific testing tools are transforming countries’ ability to enforce regulations to exclude illegal timber from global trade. This is a development that we’re excited about and watching closely.

Feeling Inspired? Here's How You Can Help.

  1. Check out Supply Change to see if the brands you buy are committed to zero deforestation.
  2. Want to offset your own carbon footprint? Read our guide to carbon offsetting.
  3. Makeyear-end gift to Forest Trends. We’re launching a major campaign to mobilize funding to restore natural ecosystems on a historic scale, and we truly need your support.

3. The world is beginning to acknowledge the true stewards of our planet.

In 2019, Forest Trends and its partners made strategic investments in forest-based enterprises in indigenous communities to create an economic engine that keeps forests intact. But these communities and the forests they protect are still under threat.
Traditional communities – and women in particular in those communities – also are incredible sources of knowledge about natural resource management. In 2019, we convened the first Gender Equality and Water Security Forum in Peru, and announced the launch of a new Leadership Program for Women in Natural Infrastructure.

4. We're finally seeing the forests for the peace.

In post-conflict places like Myanmar, a focus on natural resources governance often offers the best chance to reboot stalled peace processes and transition to democracy. In 2019, Forest Trends continued our pioneering work in the new field of “environmental peacebuilding.”

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